Managing the process of dividing things, deciding what things, how they are grouped or valued goes much better when executors envision the heirs’ perspectives.
CAMARILLO, CA, UNITED STATES, November 9, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Executors of estates have a challenging, often overwhelming, and rarely adequately appreciated job. Making things worse, they almost never have any previous experience doing it. Being the family executor, and one of the heirs, is quite different than just being an heir. It requires wearing two hats; the “Executor Hat, and an “Heir Hat”, to help ensure success as executor.
Getting things wrong, or missing a key detail while dividing tangible personal property (furniture, jewelry, art, etc.) can create resentments and riffs in families that never heal. Approaching the process by often imagining removing the, “I am in charge – Executor Hat” and opting for wearing the “Heir Hat” can help preserve family relationships.
So many wills, trust documents and articles talk in general terms about dividing things fairly, equally, or fairly but not necessarily equally, taking turns, etc., There is rarely guidance for the real world “how tos” needed to make all of that happen, so most fall to executors to decide, and how they do so can create resentments from the other heirs. A short list of decisions usually needed:
A. Process – What process will be used to divide things, and what things are to be included?
B. Packing and Shipping Costs – Who pays packing and shipping to each heir?
C. Does everything need a dollar value on it, or no values are to be used, or maybe only items above $500?
D. Sets or Smaller Groups – Do things like big formal china sets go as one item, or maybe get divided into three or more usable, but partial sets? Are kitchen items, clothing, small collectibles, listed item by item or in usable sub-groups?
E. Listing vs. Donating – It is easy to get rushed and start getting rid of things one personally wouldn’t want, but other heirs might, like old kitchen items, Dad’s ties, a small dinner bell, children’s books, etc.
So, with the “Heir Hat” on, let’s look at each example above and how holding this mindset in this process will help:
A. Process – For most heirs, transparency and a feeling of equal access and opportunity to all is key. So, picture each heir, actually picture being each heir (without judgement), their location, life situation, family relationships, and what would help create a transparent, inclusive, fair process for all?
B. Pack/Ship Costs – Do all heirs live close enough to pick up locally? Usually not, so is the estate going to pay all shipping, a capped max amount, or each pay for what they chose? Does everyone realize shipping a dining room set, or nearly any furniture may exceed the net value to the estate if it was just sold? Heir’s selections may well be decided by this important calculation.
C. Dollar Values – Do all items need to have a fair market value to equalize approximate matching totals for each, or is providing the chance to choose things all that is important; so, no values needed? What if someone only wants their share of cash? What is fair to the estate (other heirs) and fair to this heir who doesn’t want “the stuff”.
D. China? Silver? Other Sets – Do they remain sets, or would some be happier getting 4 place settings each? Maybe divide into several mostly equal sets that each heir could potentially choose, or possibly get several of for a bigger set.
E. Listing vs. Donating – It is easy to get rushed and start getting rid of things one wouldn’t want, but other heirs might, like old kitchen items, Dad’s ties, classic children’s books, a small dinner bell, etc. Something tossed out that might have had sentimental value to someone else can cause resentment not easily overcome during this time of loss.
Wearing the “Heir Hat” is really just another way to say, be empathetic. Executors need to be empathetic and encourage the same in others; to heirs who seem to want everything, and to those that say they want nothing.
David MacMahan, founder of FairSplit.com says: “Everyone’s situation is different; how they process grief is different, and how they view “things” vs. “cash” etc. The “Heir Hat” concept can help the executor make good decisions, and help keep the family speaking years after the estate division has been completed.” David uses the wisdom gained through his more than ten-year history of navigating the process with thousands of families and heirs to help FairSplit.com client families share list, share and divide the assets.
FairSplit.com was founded in 2010 to help with peacefully dividing the personal property of estates, in death, divorce or downsizing in an online platform. The listing and sharing is free to use, with upgrades to divide online. Additionally, they offer mediation, listing assets from photos, valuing and administrative services.
Introduction to FairSplit.com Online Division of Personal Property Services
Source: EIN Presswire